Person wearing mask underwater in tub

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People's Choice Awardee

Muerto Rico
Collection of the artist

The eyes are all we see of the subject’s face in this portrait of a masked individual underwater. A bubble of air—a sign of life, or death—conceals one eye, while the other stares vacantly. The black t-shirt, designed by Bold Destrou, emphasizes the somber mood with its message, “Muerto Rico” (Dead Rico).

Alternating between satirical and serious, ADÁL’s photographs and performances address issues of Puerto Rican identity and the island’s political relationship to the United States. In 2016, he started photographing subjects submerged in his bathtub for his series Puerto Ricans Underwater / Los Ahogados (The Drowned). In the artist’s own words, “The series was originally meant to represent the economic crisis underway on the island of Puerto Rico. However, after September 20, 2017, it also became representative of the destruction and almost 4,000 deaths caused by Hurricane Maria.”